But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?
Who Is Our Neighbor?
Jesus was asked by a lawyer how he might inherit eternal life. Jesus answered him by asking him a question: What is written in the Law (Luke 10:26)? The lawyer correctly stated that we are to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor as ourselves, to which Jesus said he was correct (Luke 10:27-28); but the lawyer wanted to justify himself by asking the question “who is my neighbor.” The lawyer should have left well enough alone. Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan, showing that two of the Jews who were supposed to be religious and assumed to be the most likely to help the man both refused to help a man who was beaten and robbed. It was only the Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, who helped the man (Luke 10:29-37). Jesus was showing that anyone we meet is our neighbor, not just those we like, even those who many would despise.
Who Is the Real Neighbor?
Jesus showed that our neighbor is anyone who needs our help. It is a matter of grace and not of race. It shouldn’t matter what a person’s background or nationality is. What matters is that we are to help those in need, so our real neighbor is the one who needs our help. We might be that neighbor someday who needs someone else’s help, and we wouldn’t want others to discriminate against us when we needed it. The truth is that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), so neither should we be.
Go and Do Likewise
Jesus’ main lesson in this parable is to help anyone who has a need, regardless of who they are. It’s not who they are but Whom we serve. Jesus told the lawyer that the true neighbor is the one who shows mercy (Luke 10:37), so we should do as the Samaritan did and help those who need our help. The ones who were expected to be helping their neighbor, like the priest and the Levite, both refused to help the man and even went out of their way to avoid him (Luke 10:31-32); but only the Samaritan went out of his way, spent his own money, and made an effort to help the stranger, proving that he was a neighbor to this man. Who is our neighbor? It is anyone who needs our help. Will we go out of our way? Jesus would ask us, “Who is our neighbor?”
A Closing Prayer
Father God, You have gone exceedingly out of Your way to redeem me and have given the greatest sacrifice to heal me of my sins. I too was not worthy; but you went out of Your own way, dying so that I might live due to the supreme sacrifice given by Jesus Christ, for which I am eternally grateful and thank You. In the Savior’s name I pray.
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